Sunday, March 9, 2008

Raisin Filled Cookies

The other day my friend Jill was waxing nostalgic about ZCMI's raisin-filled cookies, and it made me realize that I was not alone in the ritual of shopping at ZCMI and then going to the candy bakery for a treat.
Back in the day, ZCMI was a cool store. In the early eighties, it was the place to get your Gunny Sack dress for the dance. We bought rugby shirts, Girbaud jeans, and sweatshirts with ivy league school names on them. I bought a really cool pair of ESPRIT pennyloafers there. If we were there without our parents, we'd cruise through the perfume & cologne section and sample Obsession, smell the Drakkar & Polo and think about the guys that wore those. Then we'd go to the candy bakery, take a number, and get some date and raisin-filled cookies to eat on the way home.
Our favorite cookies were the date-filled ones. I recall the cookie being made with brown sugar, as the dough was a little darker and heavier than the white, raisin-filled ones. I think they also had some ground pecans in the dough. I'd like to get the recipe for both, but have yet to find a good match.
Here's my attempt at some raisin-filled cookies. They're made with a brown sugar cookie dough, and the dough is really soft, so you'll have to refrigerate it and use a enough flour when rolling it out. The filling is more complex than ZCMI's, as it incorporates chopped walnuts. I didn't have dark raisins, so I substituted a mixture of golden raisins and currants. Don't overbake them, or they'll be really tough. I think they taste better the second day.

Raisin Filled Cookies
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. shortening
2 t. vanilla
3 eggs
4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
zest from 1 lemon (optional)
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. water
1 T. flour
1 1/2 c. raisins, chopped
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 T. lemon juice

For dough, sift together flour, baking soda and salt in bowl; set aside. Beat together shortening, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest, vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in dry ingredients. Separate dough and flatten into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
For filling, stir together brown sugar and flour in medium saucepan. Add water and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, stir until thickened. Cool.

Roll out dough and cut out circles.

Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Moisten edges of cut dough with a little water, then add 1 t. or so of the cooled filling. Add dough "lid", flatten slightly and press edges to seal. Prick tops with fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes, until cookies just barely begin to change color. Note: 1 had about 1 cup of extra filling.


Ryan said...

My mother hauled me down to ZCMI every fall for the annual school clothing shopping trip. I would have rather eaten dirt than try on clothes. She would say "What do you think of these pants?" I would say "They are fine." She would say "Try them on." I would whine and say "I am sure they are fine." She, in a stern voice, would say "TRY THEM ON." I would slink into the dressing room, put on the pants and return for the most embarrassing part of trip. She would tug and pull on the pants in front of thousands of customers and then announce, "They are pulling," and send me back into the dressing room to try on another pair. This of course was accompanied by the appropriate amount of whining and a stern voice. The only consolation to this experience were the raisin filled cookies at the bakery. When ZCMI sold to Macys I thought the cookies were gone forever. Now I can eat cookies without shopping for clothes.

cathy said...

That is hilarious. Just remember, the pride she felt in turning a pants fitting into rocket science is directly proportionate to your humiliation. I think our mothers are of the same generation, regarding department stores with deep suspicion, as if there were some code to be cracked. ("I'm sure this was on sale..." "Mom, just pay for it." "No, it was on the sale rack. Here, I'll show you...")
At least she didn't announce, "We'll need a husky!", as I don't peg you for the husky type. Funny, girls aren't husky, they're just "regular" (as opposed to "slim") At least I knew that I was "regular" on track someday to be a "queen".

Jill said...

Thanks Cathy for making the cookies. They didn't disappoint, even with nuts. I'll trust you'll make them again soon because I only ate one and they far exceed my cooking abilities!

mindy said...

Your post totally took me back to my junior and high school days. I loved Girbaud jeans. I never had a pair of my own, a little pricey for my parents, but I was always borrowing pairs from my friends. And Drakar cologne, please, I can't even smell that stuff now without being reminded of past crushes.
Thanks for sharing the cookie recipe. I ate most of the one Peter brought home and was really anxious to ask you for the recipe.

tom & laura said... sister had them in EVERY color! sad story, my boss still wears them on casual fridays and hunts the internet looking for brand new pairs!

Organized Chaos said...

All of your food tastes wonderful but I think now you even make the food look wonderful. Wish I was there to have some.


John Foster said...

Funny thing about Girbaud's. They were made by Wrangler.

Emily said...

I am a semi-anonymous follower of the ZCMI cookie cult. However, I am anti-raisin. My favorite part of the bakery (besides taking a number) was the iced sugar cookies. White frosting, multicolored sprinkles...basically, edible heaven. Do you know them? Could you recreate a recipe of them for me? The closest thing I have been able to find is the sugar cookies from Einstein's Bagels...not really the same, but the flavor is reminiscent. I am desperate. I have googled in vain. It seems crazy that all of ZCMI's recipes should have evaporated.

Anonymous said...

I cut your recipe in half because I never know if the recipe is going to be accurate when I try a new recipe. I wish I hadn't because the cookies not only were delicious but they looked pretty too. I used Spectrum instead of shortening. I really didn't have to wet the dough. I just sealed it by using my forefinger or thumb. I also experimented by make a linzer type cookie with your dough. It came out perfect. I will be making a full recipe now. Thanks!